To record their most recent album, the members of the Walkmen left the familiarity of New York City and ventured to the Pacific Northwest. The band created "Heaven," which came out at the end of May, at Bear Creek Studio in a town outside of Seattle.
Walkmen bassist Peter Bauer likened the locale to the fictional town of Twin Peaks, created by David Lynch.
"It's nice to travel and get away a little bit," Bauer said, speaking by car from East Texas, on the way to a gig in Oklahoma City. "You tend to work harder or you tend to think straighter when you have nothing else to do."
The Walkmen perform Thursday and Friday at the 9:30 Club.
|with the War on Drugs|
|» Where: 9:30 Club, 915 V St. NW|
|» When: Doors 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday|
|» Info: Sold out, but tickets might be available through resellers; 202-265-0930; 930.com|
In recording "Heaven," the band teamed with producer Phil Ek, who had recently worked on the Fleet Foxes' album "Helplessness Blues."
"It worked out great," Bauer said. "We'd always refused to have producers on records up to that point, so it was something we were interested in doing and we were trying to figure out how to do it and how to approach it, but we really didn't know how. It sort of fell in our laps."
"Heaven" is the Walkmen's seventh studio album. The band recently celebrated a decade since its debut, "Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone."
Bauer credits the band's longevity to the members giving each other space and going about business with a consensus.
"There's no central leader," Bauer said. "It's completely democratic. Everything has to be a five-zero vote. If one guy is sour about something, then it usually doesn't happen."
One example of how the band has changed in recent years comes in the form of photos taken in conjunction with "Heaven." The members are shown posing with their families. Bauer has two children of his own, and the band has produced eight offspring total.
"I think as a person, it makes you a totally different person," Bauer said of fatherhood. "It makes you a much better person. It makes you aware of the world in a different way than you did before. I wouldn't trade it for anything."
As the members of the Walkmen have roots in D.C., Bauer is especially looking forward to the two 9:30 Club dates.
"It is very much a homecoming," he said. "It's a very familiar feeling for us to go back there. I think getting to do two nights there is a really big honor for us, having grown up there. That seems like a big deal."